(Updated noon Eastern time, 9/16/99) Hurricane Floyd crashed ashore in Cape Fear, NC, about 3 a.m. then headed north, with hurricane warnings stretching as far north as Massachusetts. Although the hurricane is expected to just hit the tip of Long Island in New York by late tonight or early tomorrow, cities in the Northeast could still get heavy rains and tropical storm force winds of up to 73 mph, making travel hazardous.
Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York have all declared emergencies. Disaster preparations are under way in New York City, Massachusetts' Cape Cod and along the coast of Maine.
Bennie Foy, a trucker who lives in North Carolina, reported that west of I-85 the effect of Floyd was more like a spring storm. Toward the coast, however, cities such as Charlotte and Raleigh were getting pounded pretty hard, he said.
Georgia and Florida residents missed the worst of the storm and are returning home. However, gridlock in those states during the huge evacuations earlier this week has raised concerns about states' evacuation plans. West of Jacksonville, FL, bumper-to-bumper traffic clogged I-10 for nearly 200 miles. Near Charleston, SC, hundreds of motorists ran out of gas as they waited for 15 hours, reports USA Today. In South Carolina and Georgia, officials closed eastbound lanes of major Interstate hurricane routes and used them for inland-bound evacuees only.
Trucker Larry Henrickson pulled his rig over for the night at Po Jo's truckstop on U.S. 301 off I-16 in Georgia about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday to wait out the traffic, according to a report in the Savannah Morning News. He'd driven up I-95 and waited out four miles of backed-up traffic to get onto I-16.
For more information:
CNN weather updates: http://www.cnn.com/WEATHER/
Charleston (SC) Daily News: http://thecharlestondailynews.com/
Wilmington (NC) Morning Star: http://starnews.wilmington.net/
South Carolina emergency info: 1-800-256-8535
North Carolina emergency line: (919) 733-2448